But the letters and emails that consumers receive are fake and commonly known as advance fee frauds or Nigerian scams.
The letters and emails use various plays on the words "La Primitiva" and other terms related to legitimate lotteries. Thus scams are typically called "Primitiva Award Notice", "El-Mundo de la Primitiva", "International Lottery de la Primitiva", "El Gordo La Primitiva International" and "Loteria La Primitiva".
The names might vary but the method of operation is the same.
The intended victim is often told their name or email address was selected through a random computer ballot and sponsored by a marketing company.
In order to claim their so-called winnings, the victim is asked to provide their bank account details and other personal information. The victim is asked to contact the claims agent or award department.
Once the “transfer process” begins, the victim is informed of various delays requiring the payment of transfer fees, taxes, anti-terror fees, insurance fees, claims agent fees, and other administrative costs that they must pay before the prize can officially be collected.
The victim is asked to send money by wire transfer to various individuals claiming to be lawyers and/or bank executives. Contact can be made by email, fax or phone.
The scammers will do anything to gain the victim’s trust and get them to reveal their personal and financial position. This enables them to know how much money to request without scaring off the victim.
Advance fee frauds are very sophisticated operations and the operators are experts in convincing victims that they are legitimate.